March 20, 2008

Featherstone Estate Winery 2004 Onyx Cabernet Merlot

(Re-Tasted March 2008) … People who read my reviews know that I am a big fan of Featherstone, a winery started back in 1999. As they get older, it makes it easier for me to check their back vintages to see if my initial impressions have held up over the long haul. Onyx is a wine you would have paid about $20 for and “Onyx” is the moniker Featherstone chose to delineate this wine as a reserve – knowing deep in their hearts that the word “reserve” is an overused and meaningless title. I scraped off the capsule covering the cork (never a good sign) to reveal what I had suspected and feared: wine had seeped through, creating a sticky super-glue effect to the plastic capsule … the bottleneck smelled like Balsamic. The cork slid out with barely a whimper and an inspection of the cork revealed wine had indeed crept ¾ of the way up, in fact ¼ was fully red all the way to the top. The nose seemed to have life, the initial pour was red fruit laden and accosted my nose with its pleasant aromas – but it didn’t take long for those smells to change (max. 10 minutes) into smoky and pruny with dried fruit and leaves at its core. On the taste, the dried fruit continued to dominate, the tannins had vacated for parts unknown leaving the wine completely smooth; flavours reminiscent of old jam left in the fridge too long and smoky woodsy nuances … within a few minutes, it was all smoked wood with no remnants of the fruit left behind. The wine has become old, tired and uninteresting before its time – I’m sure the cork leakage had something to do with it. Turns out the wine is tolerable, but not what I was expecting, too bad.

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